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All articles ENGINEERING How to apply the Excel BITOR function

How to apply the Excel BITOR function

We can use the Excel BITOR function to get the Bitwise “OR”, which is the binary equivalent of two numbers. With the BITOR function, a binary representation of the numbers is used in operation and a decimal value becomes the returned result. The steps below will walk through the process.

Figure 1- Final result of the Excel BITOR function

General Formula

=BITOR (num1, num2)


  • Num1: first positive decimal value
  • Num2: second positive decimal value




Setting up the data

We will prepare the table as shown in figure 2 with the numerical values. The objective is to find the Bitwise “OR” of the combination of the numbers contained in each row.

  • We will input the numerical values for “number1” in the range B5:B9
  • We will also enter the numerical figures for “number2” in the range C5:C9
  • The result will be displayed in Column D



Figure 2 – Setting up the data

Applying the BITOR Function

  • We will click on Cell D5
  • We will input the formula below into Cell D5


Figure 3 – Enter the BITOR logical operation

  • We will press the enter key

Figure 4 – Applying the BITOR function

  • We will use the fill handle (the small square box at the bottom right of the cell) to copy the formula to the other cells. Click and drag the fill handle to Cell D9.

Figure 5- Final Result of using the BITOR function


=BITOR (num1, num2)

This function adds the binary version of two numbers. This function performs a logical OR operation for the binary representations of each number before addition, and finally, the result is displayed as a number.

For example, in our table, the binary representation for Cell B5 is 11 and Cell C5 is 1010.

Adding their binary representations, we will have:




Next, we convert, the binary representation back to a numerical value, by starting from the right using the process below:

1011: 1 X 23 + 0 X 22 + 1 X 21 + 1 X 20 = 11.

The arguments, number 1 and number 2 must always be greater than or equal to zero. Also, it should never be larger than 2^48-1.

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